Just came bock from a midnight showing...I'll bullet point this because its late as hell, but looking forward to in depth discussion:
Overall, i think its pretty damn good, but it has some major flaws that hamper it down...pretty much the same deal as "Batman Begins", but just like that film, there's a solid foundation to build a better follow up.
-The action and visuals...there's little that can even come close to how amazing both are in this film, and while it does become a bit tiresome, the action scenes and visual spectacle vary enough to make this a homerun in terms of blockbuster filmaking; it may go over the top and fail to match Avengers in terms of balancing action with fantasy, but on sheer scale and visuals, this is hands down the most spectacular film in ages; that alone makes it a must see (no idea how it plays on 3D, though)
-Costner, Lane and Adams, along with the supporting cast really stand out, and give good performances; Costner performance even makes Pa kent's death scene work wonders despite how over the top it is. (I meant the way its filmed/portrayed, not the means of his death, which sadly, may hit close to home for many americans)
-Krypton: Love the whole nods to John Byrne's vision of it, and the whole Flash Gordon meets John Carter on a huge ass budget is fantastic.
-Lois Lane being a damn good reporter...loved that she figures out about Supes before everyone else in the world, and gives her character a lot of weight and credibility; its also a great inversion of the almost cartoony Supes fooling Lois yet again!
-The flashbacks sequences.
-Cavill's Superman is pretty much out of the comic book page in terms of attitude and look , and Cavill sells his perfomance; the script gives him little to do as Clark Kent, but thats a fix for a sequel.
-Crowe, Meloni and the actress playing Faora, who is , as Phillip J fry would say, "scarousing" in terms of look and performance.
-Shannon as Zod; sure, he is pretty two dimensional in terms of character, but he pulls it off in terms of menace and evilness; just the right amount of quality acting and cheese.
-The sheer scale of the action onscreen; yeah, its not exactly Golden or Silver age stuff, but i think it helps sell some realism to the movie's universe.
-Too little Clark Kent stuff; sure, its needed to set it apart from the typical superhero stuff and the previous movies, but I think it does rob Superman of his humanity, which oddly is the point of it all.
-Its not grim and gritty, as comic fans would day, but still, this movie goes to some dark places for the character its based on...I dont think its a bad thing, actually, but fans of the character might get riled by this.
-they do fumble the "Superman" though; they just throw it out there out of the blue.
-This is going to be the most homoerotic thing I've ever typed, but I think a JLA/Avengers movie would make millions just for an scene Hemsworth's Thor vs Cavill's Superman; itd be the superpowered equivalent of Vin Diesel vs Dwayne Johnson in Fast Five.
-I hoped against my better judgment to see Krypto here; make him look like Ghost from Game of Thrones on steroids and it would work!
-Kinda torn we didnt get to see Fishburne go "Great Ceasar's Ghost!" here.
The Comic nerdery/fanboy wishes:
-Im betting the whole "dead kryptonian outposts" thing is either a hint at Braniac or even Doomsday; both would make sense as a Kryptonian hubris project having fatal consequences for its creators.
-Loved the Lexcorp little cameo.
-Id say go with Metallo or Brainiac plus Luthor on the sequel, to avoid another alien threat, then bring it back on full force third time around with Darkseid/Doomsday (Game of Thrones be damned, i cant help think a mocap Charles Dance would be perfect as Darkseid; Kirby based him on Jack Palance, I believe?)
As for the twist (pun intended), i think its valid given the movie's characterization and established universe, and it may even pay homage to more modern views of the Superman character; lets face it, the Gran Morrison "All Star Superman" or Garth Ennis take on the character on "Hitman" are my favorite and most accurate depiction of Superman IMO, but they would never work in a live action movie that pushes for some sense of realism; that said, I think Superman killing an enemy who is unrepentant and whose threat to other living beings is in character (see Doomsday, Byrne's take on the evil kryptonians, Morrison's Superman vs Darkseid in Infinite Crisis and even classic Supes pretty much killing the Anti monitor in the original Crisis on Infinite earths). Given how the movie establishing the stakes and Zod's threat level, i just had to go there, and while it fumbles the repercussions a bit and will piss fans of classic Supes, i think it works for this version of the character just fine.
That said, holy fuck, the final Zod vs Superman fight is essentially a PG-13 version of Miracleman vs Kid Miracleman; it doesnt go to the extrema dark places Alan Moore went, but its pretty much a sanitized version of it.
So, in conclusion, its flaws keep it from being awesome, but its pretty damn great and a solid place to improve as a franchise; cant wait to see it again.